The Latvian national ice hockey team has withdrawn the No. 7 shirt in memory of ex-NHL defenseman Karlis Skrastins, who died in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl air disaster in September, Latvian newspaper Diena has reported.
Skrastins and the entire Lokomotiv roster were among 44 people killed when their plane crashed shortly after take-off on the way to the first game of the KHL season in Minsk, Belarus.
Maris Baldonieks, general manager of the Latvian Ice Hockey Federation, said Tuesday that no Latvia player would wear Skrastins’ number again, Diena reported.
His jersey will hang in the rafters at the Latvian home stadium, the Arena Riga, next to the No. 19 jersey of Soviet international Helmuts Balderis, the only other Latvian player ever honored in this way.
Skrastins, known as Ironman for his defensive prowess, played 832 NHL games over 11 seasons with the Nashville Predators, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Dallas Stars.
His widow, Zena Skrastins, gave birth to his daughter Vivien last month.